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Look at this turn-of-the-century steam-powered fire engine! This model is perfect minifig size, and still equipped with working steering. The engine features an upright boiler which would be kept moderately heated at all times. In case of fire alarm, it would only take a few minutes to raise steam pressure. To allow for instant departure, the vehicle is equipped with a bottle of pressurized carbon dioxide that can be used to power the driving engine until the boiler pressure is high enough.
There are two separate steam engines on board: the middle one for propulsion, the rear one for the actual pump. The suction hose, which attaches to the pump at a hookup on the rear of the vehicle, is stored for transportation on the left side of the carriage. There is a short length of fire hose on board, but there is a trailer with an extension hose reel if circumstances require.
A well-kept steam fire truck would be shining like diamonds, with all those polished brass and metal parts. So I used lots of warm gold bricks, and a few chrome parts as well. The front wheels are mounted on wheel holders that Lego designed for airplane wheels, and together with some Technic elements they're just the ticket! The trailer is mostly created from Technic elements, but I go for regular studded parts for the finer detail.
Engines like this one were in service from about 1890 to the mid-20ies, mostly in the fire departments of large cities. There were different concepts for initial propulsion. Besides the pressurized-gas method there were electric hybrid drives as early as 1900, as well as combinations with oil and gas engines. Their predecessors were horse-drawn steam fire pumps, which were not self-propelled. The steam pumps were eventually superseded by gasoline engines, which were much easier to keep ready for operation.
I received much positive feedback for my Lego Ideas project "Steam Tractor", which encouraged me to create more sets that would fit into the period. So here goes the Steam Fire Engine, a moderately complicated build with only 160 bricks that puts a lot of detail into a surprisingly rugged package in a reasonable scale. There's lots of playability in there.
Please support my project if you like it, and tell everyone who might like it, too! If you feel it could be improved please let me know, I will consider your suggestions and maybe create an update. This is meant to be fun for all Lego friends!